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[FAQ]964 Buyers' Guide

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Steve Brookes
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Steve Brookes PCGB Member
2010/11/21 21:50:35 (permalink)

964 Buyers' Guide

******At the request of others, this is a work in progress guide produced by members of the 964 register that will be continually updated. Please add your contributions to this thread and I will add them to the first post. The sub-headings are just suggestions. Others can be added. While compiling this guide errors are bound to creep in so please notify me of anything that you think might be an error. ******
 
964 Buyers’ guide
 
The aim of this buying guide is to provide help to those searching for a 964. While it provides some key information about what to look out for when inspecting a car, it is not intended to replace a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). We always recommend that you commission a Porsche specialist garage or a recognised independent inspector as part of the buying process.

Other 964 buying resources
 
The following books on the 964 are recommended reading:
 
The Porsche 911 Enthusiast’s Companion by Adrian Streather, Bentley Publishers (ISBN 0-8376-0293-9)

Ultimate Buyers’ Guide – Porsche 911 Carerra, Turbo & RS (964) by Peter Morgan, PMM Books (ISBN 0-9549990-4-5)

The following websites have an abundance of information about the 964, especially the history of the model, details of all the variants and technical specifications:

http://964uk.com/html/main.htm by Dave Wilkinson

http://www.porsche964.co.uk/ by John Miles

There is so much information about the various the timeline of the 964 and the variations of it in the resources above that there is no need to replicate that information here.

Identifying a 964

The chassis number (VIN) for a 964 produced for the rest of the world takes the form of:

WP0ZZZ96ZyS4bnnnn

The underlined letters vary as follows:

y = the model year letter (K=1989, L=1990, M=1991, N=1992, P=1993, R=1994
b = the body type number (e.g. 0 is often coupe but the numbers varied from year to year)
nnnn = unique serial number of the car

The VIN can be found in up to six places:   1. On the vehicle V5 document (logbook) 2. On an aluminium plate fixed to the right front wing inside the luggage compartment. 3. On a sticker fixed to the underside of the bonnet. 4. On a tab just below the petrol tank (behind the carpet). 5. On a sticker affixed to the service book. 6. On a plate inside the left A pillar that can be viewed through the windscreen (only on late production cars).

The engine number for a 964 takes the form of:   62ynnnnn

The underlined letters vary as follows:

y = the model year letter (K=1989, L=1990, M=1991, N=1992, P=1993, R=1994
nnnnn = unique serial number of the engine

The engine number can be found in 4 places:  1. On the vehicle V5 document (logbook) 2. As a stamp on the engine block (to the right of the engine fan at about 4 O’clock 3. On a sticker fixed to the underside of the bonnet. 4. On a sticker affixed to the service book.

The original colour of the car can be found in 4 places:   1. On the vehicle V5 document (logbook) 2. On a silver sticker fixed to the left front wing inside the luggage compartment. 3. On a sticker fixed to the underside of the bonnet. 4. On a sticker affixed to the service book.

The original equipment and specification for the interior fitted at the factory can be found on the bonnet and service book stickers.

Acknowledged Production Problems with 964s

Engine Oil Leaks
The 964 was originally designed with cylinder heads that were mounted without a head gasket set. However, it soon became apparent that oil would weep from the base of the cylinder heads so the design was changed during the 1991 model year (from engine number 62M06836). A fix was approved by Porsche for earlier engines but only the service records can indicate if this has been done (it was not a factory recall).

Double Mass Flywheel (DMF)

The DMF was introduced in model year 1990 and consists of two flywheels mounted together with the starter ring sandwiched between the two masses.  The early DMF caused vibration in the transmission and problems with shifting gears.  From 1992 Porsche fixed these problems: For the Carrera 4 a new secondary flywheel mass (the turbo version) was used and for the Carrera 2 an alternative supplier (LUK) was found for the DMF. Replacing the DMF on pre-1992 cars solved the problem and therefore most 964s will not suffer from this issue. Models such as the 964RS and 1989 model year Carrera 4s which had single mass flywheels did not suffer from these problems. 

Dual Ignition System
The 964 came with a new dual ignition system where each cylinder was fitted with two spark plugs. This required two distributors where the secondary distributor was driven by a belt connecting it to the engine driven primary distributor.  This belt is made from synthetic rubber and it failed quickly under the effect of Ozone created by the spark inside the distributor caps.  Porsche fixed this problem by introducing a vent kit to remove the ozone from the assembly.  It’s a simple modification where a tube is attached between the base of the twin distributor and the heater blower ducting.  In a very worst situation a broken secondary drive belt can cause expensive damage to the engine, hence the need to have the vent kit fitted and the belt changed periodically.

Rear Blower Fan Resistor
The rear blower assembly contains a blower fan ballast resistor (speed limiting device). This should be replaced with the newer version which contains overheat protection. If the new ballast resistor is not installed there is a risk of an engine bay fire.

Misting Rear Lights
Early rear light clusters are prone to condensation. Even though all the lights are vented via a pipe that is attached to the heater blower ducting, the early light design is still prone to condensation. The light clusters were later changed so that they had vented edges and the full light rubber gasket was replaced by side gaskets only. The rear lights can still be bought new but are only of the later design and should not be installed with the older full gasket.

Documentation

Service History


Engine and Transmission

Common Oil Leaks

Engine Mounts

If never replaced the standard engine mounts are likely to have leaked most of their hydraulic fluid and are no longer doing their job. It's easy to check them inside the engine bay - if you can get your thumb between the upper and lower part of a mount it will need replacing. Also check the engine carrier that the mounts are bolted to for cracks.

Exhaust System

The standard exhaust system consists of a cat (on the left hand side), primary silencer (long one across the back) and a final silencer (suit case shape on the right hand side). The cat can be replaced by a de-cat pipe. The flange on the heat exchanger where the cat bolts to is known to deteriorate over time (meaning a new heat exchanger is required). The primary silencer can be replaced by a 'Cup pipe'. The final silencer can be replace by a 'G pipe' or a 'J pipe'. Replacing original parts of the exhaust tends to make the car much louder. Trying to go back to original parts can be very expensive (used parts in good condition are difficult to find).

Oil pressure, Level and Temperature

When fully up to running temperature (about 15 minutes from cold) the pressure should be between 1 and 1.5 bar. When driving with the throttle open the pressure should read between 4 and 5 bar. Oil temperature will vary with climatic conditions and whether the car is on the move or sitting at idle. As a general guide the temperature needle will set on or around the first mark on the gauge (about 8 O'clock). To check that the oil thermostat is operating correctly, watch the temperature gauge needle in the first 10 to 15 minutes after firing up the car. It should rise slowly to the first main mark (8 O'clock) and then markedly drop back as the thermostat opens (allowing cool oil to flow from the front oil cooler). The level gauge is only reliable when the car is idling, on level ground at normal operating temperature. In this case the needle should sit nicely in the range shown on the display. The level gauge is of new use while the car is moving and throttle is being applied.

At What Mileage Should a 964 have an Engine Rebuild?

This is a subject that often prompts some lively debate because it is very much one that is down to personal experience. There are cars that have had rebuilds at less than 100K miles and cars that have had no major engine work that have done over 200K miles (and are still going strong). Some will argue that leakdown and compression tests will give you the answer as to whether the engine should have a rebuild but yet again, there does not seem to be a concensus of what results of such tests indicate that a rebuild must be done. However, one common fact is that a 20 year old engine (regardless of it being a 964), especially one that is dry-sumped, will have seals that are way beyond their best that are causing it to leak oil. So one of the main reasons an owner will have had the engine rebuilt is to get rid of all the leaks. If you can put up with a few drips of oil and the engine pulls well there's no reason to dismiss a car just because it's done more than 100K miles without a rebuild.

For those cars that are advertised that they have had a rebuild, look closely at the details of the invoice and who has done the work. Especially if it has only had a top-end rebuild. A full top end rebuild is very extensive if done properly (and consequently expensive). If the invoice only lists a set or piston rings, gaskets, a few sundries and labour it was no more than a sticking plaster job. The price of a thorough top-end rebuild is circa £4,000 (assuming nothing else needed doing at the same time). Add in a bottom end rebuild, the need to replace major components, numerous oil pipes and engine tinware when the work is done and that figure can easily rise to £8,000.

Tiptronic

Body

Common Rust Areas

1) Front and rear windscreen surrounds
2) Scuttle panel
3) Sills, beneath plastic covers
4) Front and rear wings where they meet the bumpers
5) Front and rear bumper mounting brackets
6) Engine tin
7) Rear light enclosures
8) Headlamp rings around the fastening screw (easy to replace)

Possibly less common
1) Rear arches where steel mounts for oil tank / seatbelt mounts have rusted
2) Front and rear jacking points
3) Headlight bowls
4) Front tub floor
5) Sills beneath original rubber kickplates

Spoiler Mechanism

Electrics

Central Locking

On key operated central locking systems where one or other of the front doors refuse to lock ie the button with the LED keeps popping back up,there can be 2 solutions amongst other more drastic problems.

1)Upgraded completely moulded plastic connecting links for the internal door mechanism are available to replace the composite metal/nylon ball jointed originals-the nylon ball section tends to split & then keeps slipping off its matching spherical matching part,which then prevents the door locking.

2)The lessor used door rotary internal knob mechanism tends to stiffen up,also its lubrication gets sticky.A quick solution entails ;removing the central trim in the knob,carefully using a small bladed screwdriver-remove the knobs central securing screw,then the knob & its' backing gasket & inject a good few squirts/sprays of WD 40, silicone etc type lubricant into the entire area behind the door card.Attach the knob without the screw & twist it right & left between the squirts,then refix in reverse order. This removes the extra friction that the solenoid has to overcome & which is just enough to otherwise stop the central locking work on that side.

Immobilizer

The immobiliser was normally retro-fitted at the supplying OPC using a kit manufactured & supplied by Hamilton & Palmer-Tel no 01732 760022 using a Receptor fitted to the steering wheel binnacle & a coded key with open brass contacts inserted into it normally giving 3 beeps when the ignition key must be inserted into the ignition switch fairly quickly & turned to start the engine.

If the beeps are not obtained,and/or the engine will not start,the immobiliser fob may have been withdrawn too soon or there is a problem with the immobiliser. See post #6 below by Vitesse for some ideas on fault finding.

Suspension

Upgrades

Wishbone Bushes

Wheels and Tyres

Options

Heating and Ventilation System

Interior

Seats

Water Leaks

One issue that can be common is damp carpets & underlay. The dampness appears to come from around the front/rear windows if there is a poor seal. It is a relatively simple/inexpensive job to reseal the frames but it takes ages to dry out the carpet. The underlay in particular can take, literally, months to dry out and it may be easier just to change it.

Brakes

Carrera 4 Specific

All Wheel Drive System

Brake Booster

Cabriolet Specific

Targa Specific

Leaking roofs are not uncommon. This is sometimes visible from water stains on the inside material of the roof, or on the inside of the doors and the extent of leakage may not always be apparent until you get caught driving in rain! Unless the roof has been restored professionally, the vinyl material will have shrunk and, if it's also spent a lot of its life folded up in the boot - become cracked, split or even torn. The shrinkage can cause the front lip of the vinyl to protude upwards and this can lead to a lot of wind noise at higher road speeds.

A new Targa roof is expensive - be prepared for a shock - and professional restoration isn't much cheaper. Also check that both of the roof 'removing handles' are with the car, otherwise you won't be able to take the Targa top off at all.

Turbo Specific

RS Upgrades

964s that have been turned into perfect 964RS replicas are few and far between. Mostly because of the complexity and huge expense that is involved. Some of the requirements like seam welding the shell, removing all of the underseal, fitting a manual steering rack and original RS ecu are not small tasks.

However, there are a number of popular 'RS upgrades' that can be added fairly easily (but are often quite costly). These include; the RS rear bumper section, the light weight RS clutch and flywheel, removal of the sound proofing, rear seats and fitting a lightweight carpet set, fitting lightweight door cards, RS rubber engine mounts and factory adjustable anti-roll bars. It should also be noted that the three spoke Clubsport steering wheel is often wrongly referred to as an 'RS steering wheel'. Similarly, 'RS brake ducts' were not an original fitment to the 964 RS (which had fog light blanks fitted). At the current time 'RS upgrades', done well, generally add to the value of the car.
post edited by Steve Brookes - 2012/02/01 23:48:50

Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
My gone but never to be forgotten 964

18 Replies Related Threads

    Steve Brookes
    PCGB Member
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/23 11:47:09 (permalink)
    Please post your contributions in this thread so that I can add them to the guide 

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    NeilW
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    NeilW Guest of the Club
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/23 13:36:05 (permalink)
    Steve, I'll let you reword as you see fit:-

    Common Rust Areas
    1) Front and rear windscreen surrounds
    2) Scuttle panel
    3) Sills, beneath plastic covers
    4) Front and rear wings where they meet the bumpers
    5) Front and rear bumper mounting brackets
    6) Engine tin
    7) Rear light enclosures

    Possibly less common
    1) Rear arches where steel mounts for oil tank / seatbelt mounts have rusted
    2) Front and rear jacking points
    3) Headlight bowls
    4) Front tub floor
    5) Sills beneath original rubber kickplates

    Cheers,
    Neil
    ------------------------
    90 964 C4 Guards Red
    03 986 Basalt Black
    colin129
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    colin129 PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/23 14:06:45 (permalink)
    Hopefully this will build into excellent guide for prospective owners...thanks for starting it up Steve!

    Possible book deal later?

    My 2 pen'oth

    One issue that can be common is damp carpets & underlay.

    The damness appears to come from around the front/rear windows if there is a poor seal. It is a relatively simple/inexpensive job to reseal the frames but it takes ages to dry out the carpet. The underlay in particular can take, literally, months to dry out and it may be easier just to change it.

    Colin
    964C2 Coupe 1990 Granite Grey 159K
    944S2 1990 Guards Red - Gone & very sadly missed
    BMW 318D - slow, slow, slow coach. Most disappointing car I have ever owned.
    Steve Brookes
    PCGB Member
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/23 17:14:07 (permalink)
    Cheers guys....have added your stuff.  Keep them coming. I'd rather be copying and pasting rather than writing it all myself 

    I missed the need for a section on documentation and Service history  so have added a heading for that too.

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    Steve Brookes
    PCGB Member
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/26 20:43:13 (permalink)
    Some general advice on engine rebuild history now added.

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    vitesse
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    vitesse PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/26 23:28:23 (permalink)
    Central Locking: On key operated central locking systems where one or other of the front doors refuse to lock ie the button with the LED keeps popping back up,there can be 2 solutions amongst other more drastic problems.
    1)Upgraded completely moulded plastic connecting links for the internal door mechanism are available to replace the composite metal/nylon ball jointed originals-the nylon ball section tends to split & then keeps slipping off its matching spherical matching part,which then prevents the door locking.

    2)The lessor used door rotary internal knob mechanism tends to stiffen up,also its lubrication gets sticky.A quick solution entails ;removing the central trim in the knob,carefully using a small bladed screwdriver-remove the knobs central securing screw,then the knob & its' backing gasket & inject a good few squirts/sprays of WD 40,silicone etc type lubricant into the entire area behind the door card.Attach the knob without the screw & twist it right & left between the squirts,then refix in reverse order.
    This removes the extra friction that the solenoid has to overcome & which is just enough to otherwise stop the central locking work on that side.

    Immobiliser:The immobiliser was normally retro-fitted at the supplying OPC using a kit manufactured & supplied by Hamilton & Palmer-Tel no 01732 760022 using a Receptor fitted to the steering wheel binnacle & a coded key with open brass contacts inserted into it normally giving 3 beeps when the ignition key must be inserted into the ignition switch fairly quickly & turned to start the engine.

    If the beeps are not obtained,and/or the engine will not start,the immobiliser fob may have been withdrawn too soon or there is a problem with the immobiliser.

    Solutions1)Insert the ignition key in the lock & twist to start,then twist back-repeat the immobiliser sequence with the Fob & the Receptor & repeat the start procedure.
    2)Use the Fob the other way round-only 1 side of the exposed brass contacts are used by the system.
    3)Check that the 2 fuses have not blown-you will find these under the dash in a fuse block about 30mm square which can be taped up to the main loom with black insulation tape just behind & up from the steering column.they are 15amp.
    4)Sometimes they can have just worked loose or 1 can so just check,clean & refit.
    5) It has been known for the entire block to detach from the Lucar connectors where it has been patched into the wiring to pick up a live feed running from the RHS of the steering wheel under the dash (RH drive cars,)

    Hamilton & Palmer can supply new fobs & receptors & are very helpful if contacted.

    1986 924S Stone Grey.
    1987 924S Guards Red
    2004 BMW 530D SE Touring Chiaretto Red
    1966 MGB GT B Racing Green.
    Steve Brookes
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2010/11/27 12:24:21 (permalink)
    Thanks Colin...that all needed a new section and has been listed under electrics . BTW my own central locking problem where the passenger door would not unlock turned out to be a failed central locking unit (which is hidden under the dash on the LH side). A used one off a 944 fixed it 

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    turbo jonny
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    turbo jonny PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2011/01/25 15:16:35 (permalink)
    Just got a copy of Adrian Streathers 964 Buyers guide. Nice compact guide
    and anyone who has his 964 Enthusiast Companion will testify that the guy
    knows his 964s - www.velocebooks.com

    1991 944 S2 Guards Red
    2011 987 Man Spyder Red
    2015 981 Pdk Boxster S Sapphire Blue
    964turbo36 register and website
    AlphaWhisky
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    AlphaWhisky PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2012/02/01 19:15:52 (permalink)
    Targa specific

    Leaking roofs are not uncommon. This is sometimes visible from water stains on the inside material of the roof, or on the inside of the doors and the extent of leakage may not always be apparent until you get caught driving in rain! Unless the roof has been restored professionally, the vinyl material will have shrunk and, if it's also spent a lot of its life folded up in the boot - become cracked, split or even torn. The shrinkage can cause the front lip of the vinyl to protude upwards and this can lead to a lot of wind noise at higher road speeds.

    A new Targa roof is expensive - in excess of £1500 - and professional restoration isn't much cheaper. Also check that both of the roof 'removing handles' are with the car, otherwise you won't be able to take the Targa top off at all.

    1998 Boxster;
    2001 911(996) C4 Coupe;
    2000 VW Golf V6 4motion - daily drive.
    Previously owned: 1990 964 Targa (two of them!); 1991 964 C4 coupe; 2005 Cayenne V6
    colin129
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    colin129 PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2012/02/01 20:43:53 (permalink)
    Re the Targa roof, and I'm prepared to be wrong on this , I understood that a new one is nearer £10K or even more.

    They do come up 2nd hand on e-bay on a fairly regular basis, although you are talking around £1K, which may be the same sort of money as a restoration.

    Sorry to steal your thunder Amanda...

    Colin
    964C2 Coupe 1990 Granite Grey 159K
    944S2 1990 Guards Red - Gone & very sadly missed
    BMW 318D - slow, slow, slow coach. Most disappointing car I have ever owned.
    AlphaWhisky
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    AlphaWhisky PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2012/02/01 22:51:46 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: colin129

    Re the Targa roof, and I'm prepared to be wrong on this , I understood that a new one is nearer £10K or even more.

    They do come up 2nd hand on e-bay on a fairly regular basis, although you are talking around £1K, which may be the same sort of money as a restoration.

    Sorry to steal your thunder Amanda...


    10k?!! I'll do some digging over at Reading.

    1998 Boxster;
    2001 911(996) C4 Coupe;
    2000 VW Golf V6 4motion - daily drive.
    Previously owned: 1990 964 Targa (two of them!); 1991 964 C4 coupe; 2005 Cayenne V6
    Steve Brookes
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2012/02/01 23:51:04 (permalink)
    Thanks Amanda. Now added to the first post....with a bit of subtle editing about the price of a new roof (I'd heard the same as Colin). 

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    MarkK
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    MarkK PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2014/01/02 22:11:23 (permalink)
    Hi Steve,
    Just PMed you about a new fix for the Cat flange problem,but just realised that PMs might not be working,it's a quick and relatively inexpensive fix that retains all the standard parts,mine is being fitted on Monday so email me if you think it might be something to have on record for the 964 forum.My direct email is mark.koeberle@virgin.net.
    Fingers crossed it should be a great simple fix that lasts years and doesn't take long to fit aswell.Will send you pics.
    MarkK

    Happy Days :-)
    Steve Brookes
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    Steve Brookes PCGB Member
    RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2014/01/03 15:16:48 (permalink)
    Thanks Mark! Just sent you my e-mail address so that you can send me the info.

    It's good to see some more input to add to the guide.

    Racing Yellow Cayman GT4
    My gone but never to be forgotten 964
    Elliott
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    Elliott Guest of the Club
    Re: RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2015/12/28 09:29:02 (permalink)
    Targa roof.
    Strictly speaking, only one release handle is needed to remove the roof.
    Dekker
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    Dekker PCGB Member
    Re: RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2017/01/06 22:45:19 (permalink)
    For those considering a Cat D car this site looks like a good place to start.
    http://www.autolign-inspections.co.uk/

    David Bladon
    964 Register Secretary
    964 C4 Cabriolet Cobalt Blue
    964 C2 Coupe Marine Blue
    SAAB 900 T16 Ruby 1993 all weather
    colin129
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    colin129 PCGB Member
    Re: RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2017/01/10 13:30:41 (permalink)
    Dekker
    For those considering a Cat D car this site looks like a good place to start.
    http://www.autolign-inspections.co.uk/




    Do they 'clean' the history i.e. make it not Cat D anymore, or do they confirm that the repair has made the car roadworthy?

    Colin
    964C2 Coupe 1990 Granite Grey 159K
    944S2 1990 Guards Red - Gone & very sadly missed
    BMW 318D - slow, slow, slow coach. Most disappointing car I have ever owned.
    Dekker
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    Dekker PCGB Member
    Re: RE: 964 Buyers' Guide 2017/01/11 10:55:36 (permalink)
    You can't clean the history, they do all the measurements and see how the work was done. Cat D could be panel work that is too costly to repair so the insurance company writes it off. However repairs can often be done with OEM parts or 2nd hand ones whereas the insurance repair quotes would be on new Porsche factory parts. Also some of the repair places charge astronomical prices.
    A friend wanted the roof resprayed on his replica GT40 and was quoted £20k from a place that works with OPC, he said," not the whole car, just the roof." They answered, "it was just for the roof."

    David Bladon
    964 Register Secretary
    964 C4 Cabriolet Cobalt Blue
    964 C2 Coupe Marine Blue
    SAAB 900 T16 Ruby 1993 all weather
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